Medical marijuana

A co-op business could keep marijuana production local, says Keith Kennedy. (CBC)

A group of Prince Edward Islanders who use medical marijuana is trying to develop a plan for a co-op business to grow the drug.

As of the end of next month, medical marijuana users in Canada will no longer be allowed to grow their own supply. Instead, they'll have to obtain the drug from a supplier authorized by the federal government.

Keith Kennedy has been using medical marijuana since injuring his back in 2002. He said there would be many advantages for Islanders using medical marijuana to have their own, approved production co-op.

"The client is going to be connected to the plant that they wish to consume. They're going to know that it's organic. They're going to know that it has a high quality, that it's going to be good for them," said Kennedy.

"We would be creating jobs, involving our consumers in the product and we would be keeping it local."

Kennedy and his group are looking for 100 people willing to pay $500 each to become co-op members. A Charlottetown accounting firm is prepared to write up a business plan for the group, but it first needs to sign up members.

Kennedy said most the federal regulatory requirements regarding the new grow ops are regarding security, and he sees no reason why a co-op should not be able to meet those requirements.

Kier Kenny, a P.E.I. businessman helping out with the project, said cost for users under the new federal plan is a major concern.

"If you're on a disability pension of $864 a month and you have to pay your food and your lodging out of that, some company has the right to grow the marijuana for you but you can't afford to buy it," said Kenny.

"That's not very much use to our community here on Prince Edward Island."

Kenny said he has talked to medical marijuana users on a disability pension who agreed a $500 investment is possible.